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China’s Belt and Road rejuvenated in Pakistan, $11 billion deals signed

China’s Belt and Road Rejuvenated In Pakistan, $11 Billion Deals Signed

ISLAMABAD – As the second phase of CPEC launches, numerous obstacles continue to hamper the initiative to achieve its goal of bringing prosperity to Pakistan.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) program appears to have returned to normal in Pakistan, with projects worth $11 billion signed in the past month.
As part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the nations signed agreements on June 25 and July 6 for two $3.9 billion hydroelectric power generation projects in Kashmir. A separate $7.2 billion deal plans to reform Pakistan’s colonial-era railroads into what is the most expensive Chinese project in Pakistan to date.
CPEC, China’s $62 billion investment in 15 years in Pakistan, is seen as the economic hub in a broader strategic relationship between the two countries, to transform Pakistan into a thriving regional trade center.
The wave of deals comes after a long period of moderate activity since Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan rose to power in 2018.
It was understood that the Pakistani government had sought a reinstatement of the CPEC, which was considered closely aligned with the previous regime.
The man in the midst of CPEC revitalization is Asim Saleem Bajwa, appointed last year to head the CPEC Authority, which oversees more than $70 billion in projects from roads to power plants.
CPEC is a planned network of roads, railways and energy projects linking China’s resource-rich Xinjiang province to Pakistan’s strategic Gwadar port in the Arabian Sea.
Through CPEC, Islamabad seeks to leverage Chinese capital, production capacity and knowledge to improve Pakistan’s infrastructure and build a mechanism for sustainable economic growth.
In exchange, Beijing acquires a connection to the Arabian Sea, offering a risk-contingent trade route to the risk-prone Malacca Strait in Southeast Asia.
With CPEC seen as the flagship project for China’s BRI and its broader strategic commitment in the region, the need to show progress is imperative.
As 2020 enters, the second phase of the multi-billion dollar project is projected to create massive job opportunities and help liquidity-strapped Pakistan improve its critical industrial and agricultural sectors.
Although the transportation corridor has been the primary international focus, power generation constitutes the majority of completed projects.
The MERICS database shows that projects worth $25.5 billion were completed, 75 percent of which were energy projects. This included the generation of solar, hydraulic and wind power, while the fuel capacity of fossil fuels constituted around 60 percent of the additional megawatt, excluding nuclear.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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